Thursday, February 9, 2012

Begin at the beginning. Go on until you reach the end. Stop.

I decided to write a book last month, which sounded like an easy enough thing to do: I love writing, after all, and I love talking and telling stories about me, about my animals, about my people and my home.  Think James Herriot/John Katz/Cleveland Amory/Betty McDonald.

It turns out I have been stymied, ever since, by the questions of how to begin—how to organize—how to transition—how to end. I decided, yesterday, that I'd better begin at any old place (but not necessarily at the beginning) and write a copious abundance of material between now and summer, then face at that time the tremendous hurdle of organization. Trying to organize as I go is like trying to keep my boat dry while I paddle—it causes an immediate and profound absence of progress. I'm going to take my rough outline and shove it, only referring to it again when I have the content in hand.

This, then, is going to become—from now until June—not a blog about my life, but a blog about a book about my life. I will let you know, every day or two, how it's going. If I don't, you can ask me how it's going. You can remind me to finish what I set out to do, which is one of the hardest things in the world for a person prone to procrastination and lapses in focus. You can prod me if you have to, and in fact I'd appreciate it if you would: I know, you see, that I have the talent and the material to write a book. I just don't know that I have the attention span without some outside interference.

I am going to start with a story about a muleback ride, because it is upon muleback that I think best.


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